Story | 01 Feb, 2023

SADC TFCA Financing Facility - stories from the front lines

The year 2022 brought hope for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time since the establishment of the Facility in 2020, travel opened up across borders, increasing momentum for the implementation of projects in Transfrontier Conservation Areas, including the TFCA Financing Facility.

The first IUCN African Protected Areas Congress, Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, the UNCCD COP, and other global fora, continue to call for more effort in conserving biodiversity using inclusive approaches that also benefit people living with natural resources, supported by sustainable financing mechanisms to implement these ambitious targets.

The year 2022 started with confirmation of additional support from the KfW Development Bank, with funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in Germany (BMZ), worth EUR 13 million. KfW also announced a further commitment of EUR 8 million by BMZ, bringing the total commitment to EUR 33 million. The Financing Facility targets to raise EUR 100 million towards sustainable financing for SADC’s Transfrontier Conservation Areas beyond the initial phase of the Facility, which ends in 2026.

Environmental and Social Management System

The Facility embarked on a process to develop the Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) which provides guidance on screening of potential risks, development of appropriate Environmental and Social Management Plans (ESMPs) and mechanisms for monitoring their implementation. The ESMS is now in place and we piloted its implementation with a Training of Rangers in Eswatini for the Lubombo TFCA. A total of 50 rangers were trained in Human Rights and Law Enforcement. 


The current SADC TFCA FF project portfolio is made up of three grant-making mechanisms: COVID-19 Response Grants, Open Call for Concept Notes, and Direct Awards.  To date, the portfolio has 23 active projects at various stages from proposal development to implementation. The first phase of action began with a call for COVID-19 Response Grants launched in April 2022.

COVID-19 Response Grants

As part of the Facility’s fast-track mechanism, COVID-19 grants were designed to respond to the urgent need to deploy financing to TFCAs that were adversely affected impacted by the pandemic. These were small grants, of up to EUR 300,000, offered to SADC Member States through a closed call for concept notes.  Projects under this mechanism are to be completed within 12 months. In 2022, IUCN and corresponding grant recipients signed eight out of 12 grant contracts, with a total value of EUR 1,050,000. Member States with signed grant contracts include Eswatini, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa. The remaining four grants were approved in 2022 for implementation in 2023. These include grants for Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Zambia and Botswana.

Highlights from our grantees

Read highlights from our COVID-19 grant recipients:

Peace Parks Foundation: Maputo Special Reserve

This was a cash-for-work project which supported 40 community members through wages, rations and logistical support to supplement their income lost to the pandemic. The project has helped to alleviate resource pressure on households whilst strengthening the protected area through improved infrastructure, including roads and fences, which in turn enables enhanced protection and law enforcement activities. In 2022, the project contributed towards maintenance of a 150km fence-line resulting in fewer elephants exiting the Park. 80 km of existing roads and 16km of new roads were cleared of trees and natural debris, thereby improving visibility and accessibility of the Park to tourists, and park management operations.

IUCN ESAROPhoto: Community members at work in Mapungubwe National Park Photo by SANPARKS


SANPARKS: Mapungubwe National Park

The project supported 12 neighbouring claimant community members through the provision of temporary jobs within Mapungubwe National Park for 12 months. This group comprises five women and youth. The community members were employed to assist with fence and road maintenance in the park resulting in 25km of fence line installed and 15km of repaired roads in the park.

IUCN ESAROPhoto: Batlokoa Community Members contracted for the TFPD Project Photo by TFPD


Transfrontier Parks Destinations (TFPD)

The Batlokoa Community Lodge in Maloti Drakensberg TFCA was not spared by the loss of income because of the pandemic. Batlokoa Community Lodge won the 2022 WTM Responsible Tourism Award, in the “Local Economic Impact” category.  The Facility is pleased to support the tourism recovery process for the lodge and contribute to the wellbeing of communities in MDTFCA. By the end of 2022, with funding from the Facility, TFPD had purchased the tanks, electrical cables, and solar-powered equipment required to boost water storage capacity of the lodge and had commenced with installations of electrical cables.

IUCN ESAROPhoto: Equipment purchased for the Batloka community through the COVID grant support Photo by TFPD

Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT), Namibia

This project will provide much-needed support to two TFCAs in Namibia: Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park (ARTP) and Iona Skeleton Coast TFCA (ISCP). The project started in September 2022, with funding from the Financing Facility being used to support anti-poaching activities, maintain tourism infrastructure, skills development and training, and to create short-term employment for local communities. By end of the year, MEFT was supported to procure two vehicles to support anti-poaching patrols in ARTP.

SANPARKS: -|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park (ARTP)

As part of the tourism recovery process, SANPARKS aims to improve directional and interpretive signage within the ARTP. By so doing, a locally based SMME from the communities bordering the park was hired to assist with the construction work. This generated much-needed temporary employment for local communities. By the close of the year, SANPARKS had procured materials – poles, wood preserve solution and cement – needed to erect the signage in the park.

IUCN ESAROPhoto: Handover of first vehicle to MEFT by Toyota Namibia


Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife: Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site, South Africa

A contract was signed to support maintenance of the footpath and overnight hiking huts, and replacement of flood-damaged bridges, on the five-day Giants Cup Hiking Trail in the southern Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site. The support from the Facility will contribute towards prevention of environmental degradation and reinstate the economic contribution and iconic status of the only Green Flag accredited trail in the Park.

IUCN ESAROPhoto: Signage poles delivered to Richtersveld National Park, South Africa

IUCN extends appreciation to the support rendered by BMZ, KfW, SADC Secretariat and all stakeholders in the SADC TFCA Network for the support they have rendered to our grantees.

IUCN – SADC TFCA Financing Facility Project Management Unit